Bassarath: Youth cricketers remain top priority in 2023

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board Azim Bassarath at the Alloy Lequay Administrative Centre, Balmain, Couva, on July 8. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Azim Bassarath has said youth development remains an integral part of the board’s plans for the 2023 season.

As the preceding season winds down with the two-week Dream XI T10 Blast third edition from Monday, Bassarath confirmed TT’s U23 players will also get a chance to hit the pitch before year’s end, in a four-team tournament from December 28.

This competition concludes in early January and the board is intent on delivering since the U19s were unable to compete at this stage in 2020 and 2021, owing to the pandemic.

The U19 tournament also sets the pace for a packed schedule of youth matches in 2023.At Monday’s Dream XI T10 Blast player draft, at the National Cricket Centre in Couva, Bassarath said youth development and competition remained a top priority. He wants youth cricket played regularly in an effort to better TT’s chances at capturing Cricket West Indies (CWI) youth titles.

“In 2023, we start with the same youth tournaments, beginning with the inter-zone. From there, we’ll select four teams to play in an U16 and U19 tournament, and then we’ll select teams for the North/South Classics.

“We are providing, for the youngsters, a lot of cricket to play in preparation for the regional tournaments.

“We did not do too well in the regional tournaments in 2022, and because of changes, all the teams had to go through the same thing, but because there were changes mid-way through the tournament, we felt that affected our plans in place for those tournaments.”

Bassarath confirmed that the CWI U19 tournament will be played in July 2023 and the U15 competition will be brought forward to the Easter vacation.The National League bowls off in February.

“We have to ensure that we put everything in place for our youth cricket for 2023. The more cricket you play, the better you’re going to become.”

On the final edition of the Dream XI T10 Blast, which begins at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba, on Monday, Bassarath said, “I’m quite sure that when the National League starts, all of these players (competing in the Dream XI) will be well prepared for the resumption.”